A living will in Florida is a document that describes the procedures approved by an individual (“the principal”) to be withheld upon the diagnosis of a terminal or end stage condition, coma, or vegetative state.
The purpose of a living will is to let the principal die naturally and with dignity. A living will may help reduce family tensions, minimize unnecessary medical costs, and answer difficult questions during uncertain times. It may also be accompanied by the designation of a health care surrogate to carry out a principal’s specific preferences and special instructions upon their death.
Procedures and treatments that are commonly addressed in a living will include”
These topics, while they made be difficult to discuss, are important to answer so that procedures can already be in place as an insurance to a principal that they will be handled appropriately at the end of their life. If a healthcare surrogate is appointed, they have the unique responsibility of carrying out the end-of-life instructions of the principal.
Many individuals choose to make a living will when they want their end-of-life to be handled according to their religious beliefs or practices. It is also a sure way to know the situation will be handled exactly how the principal wishes or how a health care agent believes is necessary once they are in a state of incapacity.
In addition, this type of document can lift a burden off family member’s shoulders who would otherwise be responsible for the life and death decisions of the client.
A living will cannot perform as a do not resuscitate order (DNR) or as a physical order for life sustaining treatment (POLST). A living will also does not usually give instructions for the disposition of the principal’s remains, nor does it say who gets to make that decision. This type of information is typically listed in your will.
To execute a living will in Florida, you must be a competent adult . The document must include the exact wishes of the principal regarding what procedures are treatments are to be withheld should they have an end-stage condition, terminal situation, or vegetative state.
A Living Will in Florida requires the presence of two witnesses at the time of signing. Although the living will does not require a notary, it is a good practice to sign the document in front of a Florida Notary.
A living will in Florida can be revoked at any time by signing and dating a statement revoking it, physically destroying it, an expression of intent, or creating an amended version. While Florida does allow for verbal revocation of a living will, it is not recommended because it blurs the intent of the principal and can cause discrepancies in the validity of the living will.
In cases of divorce where the spouse is named as the agent, the living will is revoked, unless specified otherwise by the principal. Subsequent documentation should clarify that the last living will is revoked.